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First off, I want to apologize to everyone for the sparseness of this blog. Life has been crazy and riding has been mostly boring (which I have learned can be a totally good thing!)

Let’s start with life. I got married!! (Special thanks to Tav Images Photography for taking such WONDERFUL photos!)

My wedding was everything I could have asked for. I cannot remember the last time I had so much fun! And I got to celebrate with all my family and friends, including those I hadn’t been able to see since we moved to KY. Overall, just amazing.

Then, we were supposed to take a break in life. Instead, we found a house and fell in love and are under contract. Keep your fingers crossed as it is UNDER 15 MINUTES FROM THE BARN! My current drive is between 35 – 45 minutes, so being that close would really be life changing for us.

As for May, she is doing great. Her mohawk is slowly growing back out, so I will have to pull it soon to make it look like a mane again. For the winter, I am sure she will appreciate having some mane back. She also got front shoes put back on. the feet looked great, but with the ground as hard and it has been, she was sore even in boots in a freshly dragged arena. It just wasn’t fair to ask her to continue to be uncomfortable.

The craziness of what is going on right now has forced most of our rides to be short, and occasionally tackless:

STILL don’t have a jumping saddle. Fat Buckskin in a Little Suit can commiserate with me on this one. If I needed a 17.5″ saddle or a medium tree, we would be in business, but apparently, there are very few 18″ wide tree saddles around? So odd to me. I have also found that what a lot of brands consider “wide” wouldn’t even fit an average warmblood. And anyone that has been under contract on a house before knows that throwing thousands of dollars around on something like a saddle isn’t something banks love to see.

As a result, I am sitting tight and waiting. I had a WONDERFUL experience with a Stubben rep, and I would LOVE to buy the saddle she suggested. However, I just do not think that will be in the cards. At a purchase price of nearly $5K, it just seems so irresponsible. Especially when you consider that used Stubbens (other than the monoflaps), only really go for $1,500 – $2,000 MAX. Oh well, I will find a solution. It just might take a while.

In my Dressage boredom, however, I did end up jumping some 1′ jumps the other day. They were set TINY for a VERY GREEN horse, and I figured I could do that much in my Dressage saddle. May could care less and just kind of hefted her body of them. I think she is bored too.

We have been having some lessons but, between my crazy schedule and my trainer’s show schedule, they have been few and far between. Maybe a total of a dozen this whole summer? Kind of a bummer, but we manage to make good strides in between lessons. Canter leg yields? We have them now in both directions, which is a huge accomplishment. Her canter feels so much better that I really cannot wait to see what she feels like over fences. Real fences. That require jumping. Not 1′ fences that she just steps over while I enthusiastically throw myself into a half seat.

We are having some serious difficulty with installing the haunches in. We get the shape all great through a small circle, but as soon as I ask May to hold the shape on the straight line, she snaps straight. We didn’t get to work on it much in our last lesson, other than just introducing the idea, and we haven’t had a lesson since (it’s been about 3 weeks). Hopefully, I will have more of an update after the next lesson.

May also went through an interesting period of being tense. Every ride was an argument. I was told she was being “difficult” and just needed to “get over it.” Now, this horse can need a dose of “I am more stubborn than you are, and I won’t give up until you at least try to give me what I am asking for,” but that is typically when we are doing something new or she has had an extended period of time off. This wasn’t either of those things. It was ENTIRE RIDES of her flipping me the hoof, dropping on her forehand, and barreling away. Not only that, but I wasn’t able to get a lesson during the entire period of this happening.

So I had to find my own solution. I decided to spend a few rides doing nothing but hacking on a loose rein. There will be no picking up or putting her together. There will be no insistence on perfect transitions, even if it means doing them 20 times. There will be no leg yield, haunches in, shoulders in, spiral in, spiral out, leg yields at an angle, etc etc etc. There will just be calm relaxed hacking on a loose rein, where calmness, rhythm, and obedience are all rewarded and bad behavior is simply ignored.

And it worked (video below, before shoes got put back on). I got a horse back that is far more rideable and happier in her work. It is so easy to drill a horse like May. She is so smart and picks up on concepts so quickly. However, she can get so concerned about what she thinks she should be doing, that she gets frustrated. It’s a delicate balance, but one I feel we are developing a system to deal with. Of course, adding jumping back in would probably help too. 🙂

So TL/DR? All is crazy. All is inconsistent. All is well. Keep your fingers crossed that everything goes well with our house, and maybe I will find a jump saddle by Christmas.

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  1. martidoll123

    OMG you were GORGEOUS on your wedding day!! (And the happiness shines through) I missed your blog so am so happy you are back 🙂 Congrats on the house too (UGH jealous there). May looks great and it sounds like you have a game plan for her. Boy I know what you mean…18 seat with wide tree might as well find Bigfoot instead it would be easier. Now that I am seriously looking I will send you ones I find too. Welcome back!!

    1. Emily

      Thank you! We will have to compare notes on what saddles we are seeing/trying. 🙂

      I am thinking about having the loxley by bliss of london rep out. I know they don’t have the best reputation, but I also know some people LOVE those saddles.

      1. martidoll123

        I have never heard of that brand??

  2. KC Scott

    Welcome back and CONGRATS!! Those pictures are amazing! Fingers crossed for the house coming through. When we were closing on our house in 2015 I was shipping saddles in and out left and right, and had to repeatedly send in receipts and bank statements to the mortgage lender to prove that no I didn’t really spend $10k in saddles and refunds were coming. Super fun times, so you’re a lot smarter for waiting! May looks great though, hope you get back to jumping real jumps soon!

    1. Emily

      Thank you! There is no real rush to find a saddle. I have given up on competing this year at all, so I might as well not make my bank, my husband, and myself crazy with it all.

  3. Centered in the Saddle

    Congratulations! Your pretty photos make me so excited for my wedding! 🙂
    Glad to hear you fixed the attitude problem with May. I am going through pretty much that same thing right now with Stryder. Unfortunately we have a horse trials this weekend so…he just has to suck it up, buttercup.

    1. Emily

      Thank you! I can’t look at the photos without getting a HUGE smile on my face. Just remember to ENJOY your own wedding and don’t sweat the small stuff. Literally no one will notice as long as you are having fun and enjoying yourself.

      One of the blessings of not competing this year is my ability to be mindful about our routine and how it affects May. I would say it took 3 – 4 of those easy rides before she came out again as a 100% willing partner.

  4. Alex

    Congratulations! I really hope you guys get the house! That would be such a perfect way to start the new chapter of your life together!

    1. Emily

      Thank you! So far so good on the house, but I have strange dreams about things not working out! Hopefully, in a few weeks, this blog will be filled with house pictures!

      1. Alex

        Anxiety dreams are the worst! Don’t let your subconscious get you down.

  5. Emma

    Woo congrats on the wedding! And good luck wth the house and saddle search!!

    1. Emily

      Thank you! Although part of me is like, forget the house. buy the expensive saddle!

  6. heartofhope10

    Congratulations on your wedding!! I love, LOVE your dress!

    1. Emily

      Thank you! It was such a great dress (even if I had to pull full length sticks out of the skirt after taking those photos in the sunflower field!)

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